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A relationship expert shares the 4-letter word that can diminish conflict with your partner -- and it does not get said enough

Hal Runkel is a family therapist and the author of “Choose Your Own Adulthood.” In this video, he shares the one word, it’s a four-letter word, that does not get said enough in marriage. The following is a transcript of the video.

There is one word, it’s a four-letter word, that does not get said enough in marriage. And it’s “ouch.”

When we’re in conflict, inevitably we will say something that hurts the other person, using the inside information that you have on them or that they have on you. They have used something precious that nobody else knows and it’s a tender spot and they use that on you, and you are so hurt and everything in you wants to scream something right back at them. “Oh yeah? Well you’re starting to look like your mother.” Or something you know it’s really going to hurt them.

Don’t. One person just chooses to say, “Ouch. That one hurt.” Now maybe the other person comes back at that point, and then says, “Oh yeah? Well you said some pretty hurtful things to me.” “I have. And I hate that I have.” Now that whole conversation, which was a very familiar path, that fight, is now a totally different path because one of you chose to actually get vulnerable, and say “Ouch. That one hurt.”

And so it wasn’t a step of pushing you away, it was a step of inviting you in by saying, “You know what? I am open enough to you that you can actually hurt me, so now how about we talk to each other as if we love each other.”

In terms of romantic relationships, no one can touch you like the one you expose yourself the most to, but no one can hurt you like the one you expose yourself the most to, and that hurt is inevitable. Because we’re fallible human beings trying to get really, really close with one another.

I’m not saying say it in a whiny way, “Ouch, you hurt me.” No, stand up tall, right? Stand up as tall as you can and own it. “You know what? That hurt. Is that what you were going for? Because your next answer will tell me a lot about our relationship.”

It’s usually we’re not setting out to “You know what? I’m going to find out ways I can hurt this person today.” It just comes out when we’re in the heat of conflict and we forget ourselves and we forget who we really are. Calm down. Grow up. Get closer.

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